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Yesterday Joe Hall became annoyed. Otherwise soft spoken outspoken Joe had some choice words for an SEO company which had come up with what can be described as a creative way to get +1's:

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The site's pages contained an inline popup layover thingie. You know, the page gets dimmed, the inline popup appears and then you have to click somewhere?

No biggie – popups work, after all – but this popup was different. This popup pretended to be a "spam" blocker. What? You're not a spammer?!?! Well, click the +1 and get immediate access to the site! It's that simple!

A kerfuffle broke out with the offending company claiming to be not only fully above the board with this but also that Google is A-OK with it.

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Which seems too silly to be true – and Joe Hall quickly pointed it out:

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Yet the weird truth of the matter is that as long as no money or prizes exchange hands, publishers may exchange content for clicks:

Publishers may not direct users to click a Google+ Button for purposes of misleading users. Publishers may not promote prizes, monies, or monetary equivalents in exchange for Google+ Button clicks. For the avoidance of doubt, Publishers may direct users to a Google+ Button to enable content and functionality. When a Publisher directs users to a Google+ Button, the button action must be related to the Publisher or the Publishers content.
Google button policy (Ed.:yes, they have a button policy Smile)*

Not long after Alan Bleiweiss – not a stranger to uncovering even criminal activities during an SEO audit – became involved the company decided to take the popup down.

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I think they did the right thing there. I also wouldn't be surprised if the company actually did receive confirmation that this " having to click +1 to get access to content " from Google. I'm pretty sure you're as surprised as I am to read that, yes, Google's policies are OK with this.

What do you think about this line in Google's policy? Surprised?

* button policy archived here.